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First Read: A Fight Over What Kind of Country the U.S. Should Be

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Donald Trump Holds Rally In Tampa, Florida
Supporters attend a campaign rally of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Tampa Convention Center on June 11, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the rally and introduced Trump.Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

Clinton vs. Trump: A fight over what kind of country the United States should be

This presidential contest is turning out to be more than a battle of Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative, blue vs. red. Instead, yesterday’s dueling speeches by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the Orlando shooting revealed it to be an even bigger fight over what kind of country the United States of America should be -- open, inclusive and tolerant, or closed, divided and intolerant? That’s the choice. “This is a moment when all Americans need to stand together,” Clinton said, adding: “Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work, and raise their families across America. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. We should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them.” Now here was Trump in his separate speech on the attack in Orlando. “When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats,” he said, even though the shooter was a U.S. citizen born in the United States. More Trump: “The Muslims have to work with us. They have to work with us. They know what’s going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death, and destruction.”

How does the rest of the Republican Party respond to Trump’s speech?

Remember when Trump advisers were suggesting that their candidate would back off or moderate his temporary Muslim ban? Well, there’s no backing off after yesterday’s speech. And it raises a series of questions for every Republican out there, including House GOP leaders, who hold their weekly press conference at 10:00 am ET today: Do you support or oppose Trump’s speech? Do you support his temporary Muslim ban? Do you believe that the U.S. should suspend all immigration from places where there is a proven history of terrorism? And do you agree with Trump’s insinuation -- from his remarks Monday morning -- that President Obama is somehow complicit in the Orlando mass shooting? This is a time for choosing for all Republicans out there. As MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin quipped yesterday, imagine if George W. Bush had given Trump’s speech after 9/11.

Fact-checking Trump

Here is NBC’s comprehensive fact-check of Trump’s entire speech yesterday -- from his assertion that Hillary Clinton wants an increase of Syrian refugees without a screening plan, to his claim that Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment. A final point on Trump: Everyone who criticized the Obama administration’s crackdown on leaks and who mocked Obama’s claim to be the “most transparent administration ever” should be outraged by the Trump campaign’s decision to revoke the Washington Post’s press credentials (as well as press credentials of other news organizations). Trump has declared war on the media, which unfortunately creates a never-ending negative feedback loop.

Clinton now has her biggest lead yet over Trump in NBC|SurveyMonkey tracking poll

In the latest weekly NBC News|SurveyMonkey online tracking poll, Clinton now leads Trump by seven points nationally, 49%-42% -- her largest lead since the tracking poll started looking at the general election. The poll was conducted June 6-12, so mostly after Clinton became her party’s presumptive presidential nominee. From the write-up on “Clinton's gains over the past two weeks in the tracking poll are coming from increases in support among moderates, men and white voters. She narrowed Trump's margin among men and white voters from double digits in last week's poll to single digits this week. Clinton picked up 7 points among moderate voters this week and now leads Trump 58 percent to 33 percent among them.”

Clinton, Sanders to meet later today

A reminder: Despite trailing by nearly 1,000 overall delegates and despite losing last week’s California primary by double digits, Bernie Sanders still hasn’t conceded to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Will he do so on this final primary day (the District of Columbia, where polls close at 8:00 pm ET) or after his meeting today with Clinton? The Clinton campaign put out this statement ahead of today’s meeting: "Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders agreed to meet when she called him last Tuesday night. She looks forward to the opportunity to discuss how they can advance their shared commitment to a progressive agenda, and work together to stop Donald Trump in the general election." And as Sanders said on “Meet the Press” Sunday: “I simply want to get a sense of what kind of platform she will be supporting, whether she will be vigorous in standing up for working families in the middle class, moving aggressively in climate change, health care for all, making public colleges and universities tuition-free.” Here is the preview of the Clinton-Sanders meeting by MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald. And here’s the current delegate count:

In pledged delegates, Clinton currently holds a lead of 380 delegates

  • Clinton 2,203 (55%)
  • Sanders 1,823 (45%)

In overall delegates (pledged + super), Clinton holds an overall lead of 913 delegates

On the trail

Hillary Clinton gives a speech in Pittsburgh, PA at 12:15 pm ET… Donald Trump holds a rally in Greensboro, NC at 7:00 pm ET.

Don’t forget to check out the political unit’s rolling minute-to-minute coverage of all the latest 2016 developments at the On the Trail liveblog at